Since winning government in September 2013 (previously) Australia's conservative Coalition Government has been causing controversy, recently leading to nationwide protests (previously). Undaunted, this week the Coalition voiced support for the rights of bigots (more on that issue here), and reintroduced Knights and Dames. So, where's a depressed politics junkie to turn? To comedy, of course! After a successful crowdfunding campaign, satirical political comedy collective A Rational Fear are producing a 10 week season of Australian political comedy. [more inside]
When Australian prime minister Tony Abbott paused on the lawn of Parliament House to engage a group of high school students in conversation, he may have been hoping to impress some future voters. However, the questions fired at him by the 14-year-olds - about asylum seekers, gay marriage and why he has appointed himself Minister for Women - seemed to take him aback (warning: camera is level with Abbott's crotch.) The students involved later participated in the March in March – a series of protests against current government policies which took place in 29 locations across Australia over three days. Despite over 100,000 turning out, the protests was little coverage by mainstream media – leading to criticism even from within the media’s own ranks.
As the twittersphere ridicules a White Man March in NYC, perhaps now is the time to watch Aamer Rahman, one half of the comedy tour Fear of a Brown Planet (with Nazeem Hussain), on the topic of Reverse Racism.
Chris Lilley is an Australian comedian, television producer, actor, musician and writer, who got his major start as the drama teacher, Mr. G., in the sketch comedy series Big Bite. The series ended after one season, and Lilley went on to create four subsequent mocumentary-style series, We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year, Summer Heights High, Angry Boys, and most recently Ja'mie: Private School Girl. Each show consists of primary characters all played by Lilley, ranging from a 47 year old woman with skeletal dysplasia, a 13-year-old school boy with a Tongan accent (NSFW language), a 24 year-old African American rap artist from Los Angeles (NSFW language), and a 16 year old girl from a grammar school, to name a few. [more inside]
There Can Be Only One Snake v Crocodile in Northern Queensland
Australia’s prowling predator is either a vicious wild dog that attacks children and devours farm animals, or a loving and devoted pet as cuddly as a kitten. It just depends on whom you ask.
Hard right Conservative South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi, who in 2012 year was removed as parliamentary secretary and opposition whip to Tony Abbott as a result of arguing that same-sex marriages would lead to legalised polygamy and bestiality, is no stranger to controversy. A noted climate change sceptic, and critic of both Islam and publicly-funded broadcasting, Bernardi has just published his manifesto -- The Conservative Revolution -- calling for "a reversal back to sanity and reason". Reviews on Amazon have been less than favourable, but his book has put contentious issues such as abortion, the structure of the modern family and WorkChoices firmly at centrestage as the unpopular conservative government seeks to reconnect with voters who so comprehensively removed the Labor Party from Government in September 2013. Some argue that the danger in Bernardi's comments is that they shift the goalposts on what is considered outrageous, and re-ignite the culture wars. Or is it too late? The Prime Minister has again been forced to distance himself from Bernardi's views, and Warren Entch has criticised him for his "gay obsession". In 2012 the Global Mail called him Australia's Sarah Palin, but he also shares the Six Fs philosophy of Rick Santorum: Faith, Family, Flag, Free enterprise, Federation and Freedom.
In this retrospective series we rewatch Australian films that have stood the test of time. [more inside]
Strewth! It's bloody Christmas? Stone the flamin' crows, why would you be a Darth Drongo and watch The Star Wars Holiday Special when you can crack a coldie and watch the 30-minute fan filmStar Wars Down Under? (Trailer) (Website) [more inside]
A day apart, the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Australia respectively overturned the three-year-old 2009 Delhi High Court ruling and the five-day-old Australian Capital Territory same sex marriage law. For India, this means a return to laws dating from the British rule of India which criminalise sexual acts "against the order of nature", and for Australia this means a return to the "man and woman" 2004 Amendment of the Federal Marriage Act.
Why I’m quitting Tropfest The December 2013 winner of Tropfest - The world's largest short film festival has attracted controversy by awarding first prize to Bamboozled - a story where a man sleeps with his ex girlfriend who's had a sex change as a punchline. TROPFEST #FAIL: WHY THEY GOT IT WRONG
Do not return after an encounter. Australian magpies have an incredible memory (as with all members of the Corvid family, they are very intelligent) and will attack the same people again and again. It is also too bad if you happen to look like someone they attacked before. -- Thoughts on Australia fauna
West Australian MP Stephen Dawson and his partner Dennis Liddelow have become the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Australia. But the High Court of Australia may declare the legislation that allowed them to get married — and thus their marriage itself — invalid next week. [more inside]
For the first time, photographs have leaked out from inside the Nauru immigration detention centre. Reopened in 2012, the detention centre houses between 500-600 people, mostly of Iranian background, who are attempting to seek asylum in Australia. The centre was most recently in the news following riots that destroyed much of the facility's infrastructure. Conditions at the center have been criticised by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights as "unbearable".
High-speed rail projects may be struggling in California and facing increased opposition in the UK, but they have gotten a boost in two unlikely countries. In Iceland, a country which currently has no working railways, a plan to build a high-speed rail line from Keflavík airport to downtown Reykjavík, using either conventional HSR or maglev technology, is being explored. Meanwhile in Australia, the conservative federal government has committed to safeguarding a corridor for a Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney-Brisbane high-speed rail network, a project commenced by the previous Labor minority government after pressure from the Greens. [more inside]
Eagle steals a camera that was set up to film crocodiles, flies off with it and transports it over 100 kilometers. The motion-sensitive camera was triggered three times, so we get to see the young sea-eagle fly away with it, setting it down and pecking at it. The camera was found and recovered through sheer luck. The footage is worth seeing.
What would you do with an extra $550 a week? Australia is set to become the first government to repeal laws that put a price on carbon, and will instead begin directly paying polluters to stop, polluting. Called "Direct Action", Australia's freshly minted conservative government claims the scheme "will reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and deliver improvements to our environment" Others think not The government also claims that the world is moving away from market based schemes to direct action schemes, but this claim seems uncertain. The government has also moved to close the Climate Change Authority as well as The Clean Energy Finance Corporation What is Direct Action and how does it differ from an emissions trading scheme? Australia's new Prime Minister has had varying points of view on the science of climate change, and the nations recent attendance at the recent climate change talks in Poland offer a glimpse.
Revel Cooper (1934†—1983‡) was one of the child artists of Carrolup whose crayon speed-drawings were returned to country, 2013, after 63 years off country. Tony Hughes-d'Aeth mentions Revel Cooper's history exercise book in his article Koolark Koort Koorliny: "an artefact of profound cultural significance". These kids went from comic-obsessed to crayon-obsessed in May 1946 when the White teachers took management of the Carrolup school and issued crayons. Here is Revel Cooper's enthralling school exercise book: Standard VI History Book. [more inside]
Peter Hartcher, political editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, tells the story of the self-immolation of the Australian Labor party and the political destruction of two prime ministers, in a five part series: Meltdown. [more inside]
Australians are a people renowned for inventing awesome shit, mate. The flat white. The pavlova. Anzac biscuits. Flight of the Conchords. Now we've gone and topped it all by inventing the selfie. Fish-lipped sheilas everywhere - you're welcome.
Undercover journalists publish firsthand account of asylum seeker journey to Australia An undercover journalist has detailed how he and a photographer posed as asylum seekers and took an epic journey from Afghanistan's shady currency markets to Jakarta and on to a flimsy open-decked wooden boat that delivered 57 desperate people to Christmas Island.
In 2007 (or maybe 2008, sources differ here), the Australian music game show Spicks and Specks asked its contestants to name the popular children's song that can be heard inside the all-time great 1981 Aussie anthem "Down Under" by Men at Work. None of the contestants identified the correct answer - "Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree." (As a flavor - or flavour, I guess - of the show, here's Colin Hay of Men at Work on the show in 2008. He performs "Down Under" at the end.) [more inside]
Are your "friends" pushing illegal marijuana cigarettes? Don't let drugs get in the way of your dream car! Keep sober with these snappy comebacks to narcotics. [SLYT Australian PSA]
"I note here that the first Australia would have known about all this would have been Soviet nuclear strikes on US facilities at Pine Gap (near Alice Springs), Nurrungar (Woomera) and North West Cape (near Exmouth). We know that this was likely because Western spies for the Soviet Union in the late 1970s had given Moscow some insights into the significance of these intelligence and communications facilities for what it saw as US nuclear war-fighting strategy." -- former Australian deputy secretary of defence Paul Dibb talks about Able Archer, the 1983 NATO nuclear warfare exercise that the Soviet Union almost mistook for the real thing. [more inside]
Jailangaru Pakarnu was the first song to hit the popular music charts sung in an Australian Aboriginal language, released by Warumpi Band in 1983. [more inside]
“There is no doubt some of Read’s stories are embellished, polished or, in some cases, stolen, but there is also no doubt that through the 1970s and 80s he was one of the most dangerous men in Australia.” RIP Mark 'Chopper' Read [more inside]
Each week we choose a theme and bring you a variety of stories on that theme... well, not quite. But the Australian radio station ABC Radio National has had a program, Now Hear This, running for almost three years now. It showcases storytelling efforts from amateurs and pros, each given five minutes to tell a story on a particular theme. The results are funny, sad, and beautiful, sometimes all at once. You don't need to be Australian to appreciate them. Official site. SoundCloud. [more inside]
Australia has just had an election and the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has pledged himself to be the first Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs. But has he properly consulted?
'The Other Election', run by the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), features over 600 Indigenous kids from around Australia in years 10-12 putting themselves into the hypothetical role of delivering a speech as Australia's first Indigenous prime minister.Ten finalists were announced today. Voting for the top 3 closes 29 January, 2013. The three best are then headed to Canberra to deliver their speeches in parliament. [more inside]
Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it. "In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
Australia in 2013. We have forgotten our origins and our good fortune, we are blind to our own selfishness. In place of memory we cling to a national myth of a generous, welcoming country, a land of new arrivals where everyone gets a fair go; a myth in which vanity fills the emptiness where the truth was forgotten. -- Julian Burnside writes on refugee policy and alienation in Australia [more inside]
The only Liberal Party MP to lose her seat in the 2013 Australian Federal Election... Like many people around Australia, a group of Indi locals watched the past three years of politics – one of the ugliest and most negative in the country’s history – in despair. Feeling alienated from what they saw in Canberra, and from their own MP's part in it, they began meeting quietly at the Wangaratta Library. So constrained was political discourse in the area – and so strong was Sophie Mirabella's grip on the seat – that these meetings began with a distinctly clandestine edge.... The unseating of Liberal maverick Sophie Mirabella.
What do you get when you put a band together out of ten, far too young, Australian hipsters? You get the groovy, funky, instrumental sound of The Cactus Channel, that's what.
Australia goes to the polls tomorrow. Want the skinny on three word slogans? Want to know about the fabled voters of 'middle Australia'? Are you confused about preferential voting? Aussie comedian Dan Ilic has you covered with #C@%TASTROPHE 2013: Guide to the Election. [more inside]
The men of "King Kong: The Musical" perform "Big Spender" The song was performed at a performance of Twisted Broadway: Melbourne. Twisted Broadway is a charity fundraising organization based on New York’s ‘Broadway Backwards’, an annual charity every raising money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS; Twisted Broadway will continue to raise money for research and developmental programs for people living with HIV/AIDS through Oz Showbiz Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. [more inside]
A film that inevitably leads to the buying of a Jeep. (Warning: potentially disturbing black comedy SLYT) [NSFW]
John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
Australian Federal Election time is heading into high gear now that the official list of candidates has been finalised—and it is a long one! With a record number of candidates in the 2013 election, it can be awfully tempting to just vote above the line for the Senate, especially as many believe that voting below the line means wasting your vote. Thankfully, Dennis the Election Koala is here to explain why you can't waste your vote. (It also makes a good intro to preferential voting for those still mystified by it.) [more inside]
Bad Jelly. Trying retro recipes so you don't have to. (Some images involving fruit may be NSFW. )
So much rain fell on Australia during 2010-11 that global sea levels dropped, rather than normally rising. Australia has large basins from which rainwater doesn't drain (well). Australia is giving it back as evaporation and sea levels are on the rise again thanks. The record breaking rainfall was attributed to global warming.
Noah Veltman gives us a comparison of Google Search Suggestions By Country for America, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
tholman.com is the playground and folio of interactive developer Tim Holman, where he has posted 15 different projects, both interactive (fizzy cam [info/demo]; ZenPen; Texter; and Image Nodes) and passive (Meet the Ipsums, more than 30 text generators, from corporate to batman; the useless web; dripping paint). [more inside]
"Echo Point" is a chilling, sound-rich supernatural radio drama written by Australian author Louis Nowra. Originally aired on BBC Radio 4, it is now available on SoundCloud via producer/director Judith Kampfner. [more inside]
Let's go back to 1982 and let Jim Butterfield not only tell you about the Commodore 64, but really show you what it's all about, in a two hour demonstration and training video that takes you from opening the box to coding with the Commodore. (on YouTube, and with a different intro on Archive.org) [more inside]
Tomorrow, the 2013 Ashes series (England verses Australia) begins with the start of the first match at Trent Bridge (Nottingham). Though England and Australia have battled since 1861, the Ashes were first contested in 1882. Australia lead England 31-30 in series victories. England start as strong favorites with the bookmakers. Glenn McGrath cautiously predicts a 2-1 Australia series win, whilst Ian Botham predicts a 10-0 wipeout for England over the two series. The 2013 Ashes will be streamed live to 53 countries over YouTube. With Britain in the grip of unusual summer weather (sun), much play is likely. [more inside]
A case currently before the International Court of Justice has Australia (supported by New Zealand) seeking to either stop the flagrant abuse of a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's rules by Japan, or a nasty cultural imperialist "moral crusade" attempt to suppress a sustainable, ancient tradition of killing whales with factory ships around Antarctica. You can watch Court arguments here.